AG’s office lists top 10 categories of consumer complaints | Local News

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The consumer division of the Tennessee attorney general’s office on Tuesday announced the top 10 complaint categories for 2020.

The Consumer Division received 4,053 complaints in 2020. The DCA recovered both services and funds for Tennessee by working with consumers and businesses, according to a statement from the attorney general’s office.

Overall, the number of consumer complaints decreased slightly in 2020 compared to 2019, when 4,250 complaints were investigated by the DCA.

“Division staff strive to escalate complaints quickly so that appropriate action can be taken in cases where deceptive business practices, fraud or scams are identified,” the press release said.

TOP 10 CATEGORIES OF COMPLAINTS

The 10 main categories of complaints recorded by the DCA are:

1. Home improvement, home repair, home warranty: 497 complaints

Home guarantees, as well as the hiring of a contractor for the repair or improvement of the quality of a home. The most common complaints relate to the quality of work, incomplete work after receipt of payment and structural damage caused by employees or companies. Most complaints are referred to the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors.

2. Price abuses: 343 complaints

Complaints alleging unreasonable price increases on essential items such as groceries and medical supplies. Price increases are usually taken into account by evaluating several factors, including pre-existing price agreements and cost increases by suppliers.

3. Personal / professional services: 329 complaints

Services provided by professionals working in Tennessee including hairdressers, massage therapists, locksmiths, exterminators, photographers, surveyors and more. Common complaints include quality of service, missed service charges, and problems redeeming gift certificates for services offered. Complaints in this category are sometimes referred to the Division of Regulatory Boards of the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance and the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.

4. Owner / tenant: 289 complaints

The most common complaints relate to security deposits and rental property conditions. These complaints are usually referred to city and county building code enforcement and the state fire marshal’s office.

5. Internet sales: 281 complaints

Consumer dissatisfaction with items or services purchased online. Common complaints include refund and return issues, or the product or service is not provided after payment. Often times, the product or service has been solicited by email or social media ads. The Consumer Affairs Division is working to mediate these complaints.

6. Sale and advertising of used motor vehicles: 266 complaints

Consumer dissatisfaction with the purchase of used vehicles. Disputes over the condition of the vehicle and deception regarding sale, advertising and title are the most common complaints. Consumer Affairs works closely with the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission in this category. Additionally, complaints can be referred to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

7. Health products and services: 228 complaints

Complaints include inaccurate billing services and wrong quotes. The DCA can arbitrate complaints or refer the appropriate complaints to the Tennessee Department of Health.

8. Debtor / creditor: 225 complaints

The category includes matters related to debt collection companies, payday loans, credit repair companies and check cashing services. Consumers are reporting harassing phone calls or billing issues. These complaints are often referred to the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions and the Regulators Division of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

9. Timeshare / vacation clubs: 223 complaints

Complaints relating to the purchase of a property under a timeshare agreement and the sale of such agreements. The most common complaints relate to pressurized sales tactics, false contract statements and resale scams. The division often refers these complaints to the Tennessee Real Estate Commission and the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.

10. Travel: 183 complaints

The category includes consumer disputes involving travel-related issues such as hotel or cabin rentals. Many complaints were about reimbursement requests due to COVID-19.

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